New Head of UNFPA — An Opportunity to Recommit to Addressing Unmet Needs of Women and Children

Washington, D.C.

November 19, 2011


Megan Rabbitt

United Nations Foundation President Senator Timothy E. Wirth issued the following statement on the appointment of the new head of UNFPA:

“The appointment of Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin as the new head for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is an opportunity to recommit ourselves to addressing the needs of the world’s women and children.

This appointment comes at a critical time for women and girls across the globe. More than 215 million women around the globe want to determine the number, spacing, and timing of their children, but lack access to reproductive health and family planning options. Poor women and adolescent girls in developing countries tend to be disproportionally denied access to these services.

A former Minister of Health of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Osotimehin has championed reproductive health and rights and global development challenges with a clear understanding of the importance of women and girls in meeting those goals. This kind of experience will be critical in helping UNFPA continue to meet its mission of making certain that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.

Ensuring the health of women and girls is one of the best ways to accelerate progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon brought much needed attention to this fact when he launched a Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health in September of this year. The strategy ties the health of the world’s women and girls to the achievement of major reductions in infant and maternal mortality, HIV infections and global poverty.  Dr. Osotimehin, in his new position, will have the opportunity to significantly contribute to the success of this global strategy and advance full implementation of the International Conference on Population and Development’s Programme of Action, which emphasizes universal access to reproductive health services.

We will continue to support UNFPA — and its new leader, Dr. Osotimehin — to ensure the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity.”


About the United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation, a public charity, was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. The UN Foundation builds and implements public/private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and works to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. Through campaigns and partnerships, the organization connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The campaigns reduce child mortality, empower women and girls, create a new energy future, secure peace and human rights, and promote technology innovation to improve health outcomes. These solutions are helping the UN advance the eight global targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). For more information, visit